#052 Demonstrated Interest: How It Can Help Guide Your College Search

Show Notes


In this episode, Sylvia Borgo and I discuss how a student’s demonstrated interest in a college can create an admission advantage for your teen and how you can determine which colleges don’t care about demonstrated interest. Sylvia also shares how she advises high school students to consider the value demonstrating interest brings to their college-bound journey. 


The second half of 10th grade is the ‘sweet spot’ for your teen to start their research on colleges, starting perhaps with schools in your area. And if your family has not started by junior year, it’s time to get hustling! 

Demonstrated interest is when your teen engages with a college prior to applying. Many colleges track how much your student demonstrates interest. From a college’s standpoint, they want your student to engage as they know they are more likely to attend if admitted. Therefore, for colleges that do track demonstrated interest, your teen’s engagement with them can lead to an admission advantage. If you want to find out if a college doesn’t care or track demonstrated interest, look at the common data set, section C-7. When tracking demonstrated interest the colleges are checking whether you are engaging and responding to the communications they send, visiting their website, opening the emails they send, visiting their campus, and more. This metric helps colleges understand if you are serious about attending their institution. 

Other ways for demonstrating interest include getting on the school’s mailing list, visiting the college, or meeting with a regional rep when they visit your high school. You can also have your teen write an email to the rep. They must do it themselves because the colleges can tell when the parents write the email. The colleges want to hear from your student. Your teen will get excited when they hear back from a regional rep or professor! 

Alternatively, suppose your student is overwhelmed with mail after taking the PSAT. In that case, you can make it a weekly task to unsubscribe to all emails from colleges they aren’t interested in for whatever reason. From your student’s standpoint, showing demonstrated interest is part of the process of making an informed decision on where to go to college. 


  • What “demonstrated interest” is and why it matters
  • How to find out which colleges care if your teen demonstrates interest
  • Ways your teen can demonstrate interest to colleges
  • How to handle the high volume of emails you are receiving from colleges
  • How demonstrated interest benefits your student – it’s not just about the colleges!

Meet Our Guest

Sylvia is an independent educational consultant based in California. She works with students and families who want to simplify the college prep and admissions journey by bringing structure to the process. Her student-centered approach guides students through research and conversations to help them make informed choices for their best-fit college.  

Listen on…the Flourish Site, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite platform. 

“College & Career Clarity with Lisa is so helpful!”  ← Is that you? If so, please consider rating and reviewing my show so I can resource more families and eliminate overwhelm. Thank you!!

Links mentioned in this episode

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

How-to video: Demonstrated Interest: How to find it on the Common Data Set

Get your email templates: Tips for Sending Student Emails that get a Reply

Sylvia on Instagram 

DJ Educational Consulting on FB

Sylvia on LinkedIn


[0:38] Intro

[2:43] What is demonstrated interest

[3:34] Why Colleges use demonstrated interest

[4:35] Why admissions look lower than they used to 

[6:19] Ways to demonstrate interest 

[8:10] Campus visits & pre-prep for regional rep visits. 

[9:53] The importance of teens making the effort to reach out 

[11:44] How to clear the inbox clutter from colleges

[14:13] Be intentional about what you value. 

[15:59] Ways having a good understanding of the college is helpful

[17:40] When to start looking at colleges. 

[19:06] Colleges that explain career paths and admission needs well

[20:56] Choosing a college is the process of making an informed consumer decision

[23:13] Keep college discussions to one day a week

Access the episode transcript here.